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<i>New York Times - February 28, 2007<br><br>
By MARIAN BURROS<br><br><br><br>
THEY came together in what seemed like a perfect marriage: earnest former hippies and Whole Foods, the clean, well-lighted version of the old natural food store. The chains stores were filled with organic foods and socially responsible ingredients. They were decorated with pastoral scenes of the local farmers who sold to them; signage explained why local and organic are better for the environment.<br><br><br><br>
The food may have been more expensive, but for many shoppers it was worth it. Since opening its first store in Austin, Tex., in 1980, Whole Foods has grown from a small business to a mega-chain with 193 stores, capping its rise last week with a deal to acquire the 110 stores of its largest rival, Wild Oats.</i><br><br><br><br>
Full story:<br><br><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/28/dining/28whole.html?_r=1&ref=dining&oref=slogin" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/28/di...ng&oref=slogin</a>
 

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Whole Foods has some of the crappiest foods in their aisles. I see macaroni and cheese with refined pasta shells and cheddar cheese, and it is the same kind you can get from Kraft, only they say it's "organic" and therefore healthy... heh<br><br><br><br>
Not to mention they charge you a dollar for a Fuji apple!<br><br><br><br>
(... this coming from a person who lives down the street from a Whole Foods and goes there three times a week)
 

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I think the criticisms were overly harsh, although of course I hope that Whole Foods finds ways to address some of them.<br><br><br><br>
Whole Foods just doesn't operate in the same niche occupied by Farmers Markets and locally owned co-ops. It's a large chain that is an alternative to Smith's, Albertson's, and other corporate grocery chains. It provides many more options than those chains do for vegetarians and ecologically sensitive shoppers. But to compete with conventional grocery stores, it has to offer a full line of products, and it is hard to guarantee a full line if you try to contract for everything locally.<br><br><br><br>
I can get everything I need at Whole Foods, and can find sufficient local and organic produce to base meals around them if I choose. If I go to the Farmers Market, I still have to go someplace else to complete my shopping for the day.<br><br><br><br>
Perfect? No. Better than its main competition? Sure.
 

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Yeah, I have to do almost all my shopping at major grocery store chains, and I'd love to go to a Whole Foods sometime. It would be an alternative to what a great deal of shoppers are used to.
 

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Maybe a better question is how many organizations that grow significantly remain "true to their roots." Changes mean.... well, changes.
 

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Whole Foods' mission was never to remain a tiny neighborhood market. Their mission has always been to be a competitive company that uses sustainable business practices that are socially & environmentally responsible while contributing to the local communities and the welfare of their employees.<br><br><br><br>
Take a moment to read their core values:<br><br><a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/corevalues.html" target="_blank">http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/corevalues.html</a><br><br><br><br>
And their Declaration of Interdependence, written in 1985 (and updated a couple of times):<br><br><a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company/declaration.html" target="_blank">http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/comp...claration.html</a><br><br><br><br>
Here's a great article on the company:<br><br><a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/84/wholefoods.html" target="_blank">http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/84/wholefoods.html</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Lucine</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Not to mention they charge you a dollar for a Fuji apple!</div>
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Which is organic. Tell me, how much is Safeway charging for an organic fuji apple? Probably more.
 

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I'd love to agree that Whole Foods offers a refreshing alternative to all the other corporate chain grocery stores, but the thing about Whole Foods is that if a town is "progressive" or whatever enough to have a Whole Foods, it's usually big enough to have locally owned places too (that I'd rather support).
 

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And those places don't tend to offer the same choices that Whole Foods can offer. If you can get everything you want at your local store, great. If not, Whole Foods presents a much more appealing alternative than Safeway.
 

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I've never lived in a town that had a Whole Foods. I don't think I've ever been to one? I know I've been to Wild Oats and Trader Joes...<br><br><br><br>
Here, every town of any size has at least one locally owned Natural Foods store. the selection tends to be limited, and they don't usually have the buying power to have competitive prices. I would love a Whole Foods, but putting one here would put at least 3 local stores out of business.
 

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Yeah, you're right...I guess I can't really tell someone else, "You can find everything you need at an independantly owned store!" because I don't really know what they need or what their local stores are like. But in my personal experience, I've actually had better luck with a lot of specific items at locally owned stores rather than Whole Foods. I was discussing it with a friend of mine who's worked at Whole Foods for years, and he said the reason why I probably felt that way is because sometimes, local store owners are much more in tune with the needs of the people in their specific area. Unlike Whole Foods where the majority of the decisions regarding inventory are made by corporate types in offices hundreds of miles away.<br><br><br><br>
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Whole Foods- I think it's great. I'm just throwing my point of view out there.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>elibrown</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Unlike Whole Foods where the majority of the decisions regarding inventory are made by corporate types in offices hundreds of miles away.</div>
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If the Portland Whole Foods is representative of other stores, the buyers at each individual store has the liberty to stock something they feel will sell (and which meet the store's philosophy). They do, however, also stock items ordered by corporate. Seems a pretty good blend to me. You get the benefit of the large corporate discounts as well as the local presence.<br><br><br><br>
Not to knock local stores - they definitely have benefits. But I just hate to see people hate WFM just because they're a big company. As far as big companies go, they're probably <b>the</b> model of what I'd like to see other companies follow.
 

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A lot of you seem to mention the benefits of the large corporate discounts at Whole Foods, but I just don't see it. Publix (Florida's biggest mainstream supermarket chain) has most of what I need, and it's almost always cheaper. And it's not like I'm comparing Whole Foods organic stuff vs non-organic at Publix. I'm talking about comparing prices for organic vs organic on produce and the same brands of the same things for other stuff - Silk brand soy milk, Amy's frozen foods, Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese, Boca and Morningstar burgers, etc.<br><br><br><br>
There are occasional exceptions, especially when Whole Foods puts something on sale, but Publix is almost always cheaper for the exact same stuff. And I've actually been quite impressed with the selection of veg*n and organic foods at Publix since I became a vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
The only reason I bother making the trip to Whole Foods, which is half an hour drive away, is that they have a few veg*n things that I can't get at Publix. Not many, though, so I don't bother with WF very often.<br><br><br><br>
--Fromper<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/juggle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":juggle:">
 

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Meat can never be sustainable. When I walk into a Fractional Foods I see a 50' long meat counter. I occasionally shop at one when it's logistically convenient, but so much prefer PCC - which has more of what I want anyway. FF sometimes has more-exotic produce, but often they don't even know what it is and don't have it labeled.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Fromper</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
A lot of you seem to mention the benefits of the large corporate discounts at Whole Foods, but I just don't see it. Publix (Florida's biggest mainstream supermarket chain) has most of what I need, and it's almost always cheaper.</div>
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So you like the large corporate discounts of Publix, then?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OregonAmy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
If the Portland Whole Foods is representative of other stores, the buyers at each individual store has the liberty to stock something they feel will sell (and which meet the store's philosophy). They do, however, also stock items ordered by corporate. Seems a pretty good blend to me. You get the benefit of the large corporate discounts as well as the local presence.</div>
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I've always been able to have a WF order something I need if they don't have it in stock, but it's a pain in the ass compared to just getting it from a store that already has it.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OregonAmy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
But I just hate to see people hate WFM just because they're a big company. As far as big companies go, they're probably <b>the</b> model of what I'd like to see other companies follow.</div>
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Definitely not me in the first statement, and I agree in the second.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>anthony11</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
but so much prefer PCC - which has more of what I want anyway</div>
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PCC<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smitten.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smitten:">
 
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